If my house were burning down, I would grab artwork, my book, and the notebooks I wrote in Anya’s classes. If you’re looking for an average writing teacher or editor, go elsewhere. Anya resides in the upper stratosphere of creativity and, if you let her, will lift your writing to heights you never dreamed possible. I won the 2006 New Mexico Discovery Award, first prize in non-fiction, for a story I began in Anya’s class. I divide my writing into two phases: pre-Anya and post-Anya. There is no comparison.
I have attended many writing workshops throughout my life, and Anya’s have been the most exciting, unique, and productive I have ever experienced. I have also had the privilege to have Anya do editing work for me, and she gave my work the kind of deep, loving, and careful attention that each of us wishes that an editor will give to our “beloved creations!” If that’s not enough, Anya is a beautiful, powerful woman and human being, who believes that we can “change the world” with our writing, and she shows us how to have the courage to do so. There is really nothing more I can say, except “take Anya’s workshops!!”
Through Anya’s teaching techniques and working with her for a year, she helped transform my 70-page book into a 190-page memoir. By giving me the tools and skills to see the world through my characters’ eyes, I was able to birth them from a life of black and white into a life full of color.
After each [workshop I’ve attended with Anya], I’ve returned to my writings with newly learned and reinforced dimensions – to shape more fully, delve more deeply, to narrate my truth, what happens, what makes us, what makes us tell.
Through my years working with Anya as my writing teacher, coach, and inspiration, one phrase of hers echoes in me whenever I reach towards the empty page: “go deeper within”. Anya’s joyful teaching method has served in all my writing, to take each step as a journey into the unknown fathoms of the human heart, a place where, instead of being frighteningly alone, we find the deepest connections to one another…
The work I did in [Anya’s] classes was vital and immediate and more real than any writing I had done before. I learned so much abut how to pare down–and about how to come to my work with new perspective. […] I can say that my own experience of writing and creating has been changed forever by working with Anya. If you have this opportunity in your life, take it.
Anya’s classes allowed me to not just be able to re-dream a world but to re-dream a universe! With me in it! My glorious writer’s self! Anya’s classes were a path into helping me successfully find my inward voice which now in the present has allowed me to write in a fury! Since Anya’s class I have had the opportunity to do poetry readings in Chicago, and created a writing group called The Night of the Living Tongues.
Anya teaches the craft of writing in a gentle, non-threatening, supportive way, dosed with humor. I feel so fortunate to have found her!
Anya is authentic from such a strong place that I totally trust her. Her urge to find the bones inside the outer appearance of things is highly infectious. She opened viewpoints for me that blew like a fresh storm through established fields of fixed ideas and turned them creatively upside-down.
Anya Achtenberg has been my inspiration and teacher extraordinaire. I have followed her all over the country because of her unique way of teaching and her ability to inspire. She is by far the most talented instructor I have worked with after taking years of writing instruction. I highly encourage anyone who wants to be a better writer to take advantage of her talent.